Sunday 25 August 2019

#DogsAtPollingStations: Voters take their pups to local elections as tradition returns

The hashtag was trending once again, in what has now become an election day tradition.

By Emily Chudy, Press Association

Thursday’s local elections saw both humans and their pets going to the polls.

With votes being cast in 248 English councils outside London, and 11 local authority areas in Northern Ireland, people lined up to cast their votes, with many taking their dogs.

The hashtag #DogsAtPollingStations took off again on Twitter, following what has now become a tradition on election days.

Holly Nicholson, from Lancashire, who has owned her dog for a year, said: “I like to get her out and about as much as possible. As a young woman I think it’s so important to have your say and get your vote in.”

The hashtag has been popular for several years, with people often choosing to combine walking their dog with casting their vote.

However, dogs may not be allowed in buildings being used as polling stations, and, if they are, they must be kept on a lead at all times.

Louise Timlin, a WEP candidate for Evendons ward in Wokingham, Berkshire, joined in with the hashtag using a slightly different animal.

She created a new trend, #HamstersAtPolling station, saying: “When you don’t have a #DogsAtPollingStations”.

Politicians also welcomed the hashtag, which crops up at almost every UK election.

Labour MP Jess Phillips said: “A steady stream of these today if you don’t mind. We don’t have local elections in Birmingham so I feel excluded.”

Polls opened at 7am on May 2 and will close at 10pm.

Counting will take place overnight in about 120 areas but will be carried out during the following day in others, with the last result not expected until about 9pm on Friday.

Nearly 60% of the 8,425 seats up for grabs in England are currently Conservative, with a quarter held by Labour.

PA Media

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